As first reported in Deadline, Daredevil’s fourth season has joined Iron Fist and Luke Cage on the scrap heap of cancelled Netflix shows. Although the Marvel/Netflix deal for four streaming series and a Defenders spin-off was greeted with loud cheers when first announced in 2013, now it’s become more of a humdrum affair for all involved. Although the shows have gotten generally good reviews – save for Iron Fist and the Dudfenders – complaints of “Netflix bloat” in the 13 episode seasons and drab production values have led to diminishing returns with each season.,
Daredevil, starring Charlie Cox in the title role, with Vincent D’Onofrio as the Kingpin, ran for three seasons and spawned a Punisher spin off. The fate of a second season of that show remains unknown, although star Jon Bernthal has also been tweeting mysteriously for a few weeks. Also not announced, whether Jessica Jones, perhaps the best received of the shows, will return for a third season. According to multiple outlets, sources say both seasons will run as planned.
However, in a statement Netflix didn’t close the coffin lid on Daredevil entirely: “While the series on Netflix has ended, the three existing seasons will remain on the service for years to come, while the Daredevil character will live on in future projects for Marvel.”
That “years to come” is especially interesting because everyone has been wondering if Disney would snag back their Marvel streaming series for their new Disney+ OTT service that already has shows planned for Loki and Scarlet Witch/Vision.
The Deadline story actually reveals that relations between Marvel TV and Netflix have been strained for a while, with Netflix wanting to slim the shows down to 10 episode seasons, and Marvel resisting. The parade of showrunners, and expensive location filming in New York are also factors.
But it seems that the cancellations of Luke Cage and Iron Fist were very sudden:
Overall, the cancellation of the series starring Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio, who had been tweeting about a fourth season in the past few weeks, shows just how strained relations between Netflix and the Jeph Loeb run Marvel TV have become. A far cry from when their multi-series deal was first announced back in 2013 with big smiles and almost bigger plans.
The current state of affairs became painfully evident when the SVOD player abruptly pulled the plug on a third season of Luke Cage last month. One week after Iron Fist was pink slipped, that October 19 cancellation of Harlem’s Hero came after the nearly half scripts had been written for a Season 3 and a formal renewal had been considered a foregone conclusion.
Ouch. The MCU is the biggest thing ever in the movies, but the Netflix Marvel shows have become distinct also rans, even as Netflix has signed up more and gaudier deals with everyone under the sun. Times have certainly changed since the innocent days of 2013.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.